LOCAL Government minister, Ignatious Chombo has directed Mutare Mayor Tatenda Nhamarare to officially inform residents in the city that Meikles Park in the central business district is no longer council property, it has emerged.
Nhamarare has unveiled prominent businessman and Zanu PF Central Committee member Esau Mupfumi as the new owner of the Meikles Park through his company, Stallvic Enterprises (Private) Limited.
Addressing scores of people at the controversial prime land on Friday, the mayor said there was nothing the council could do to stop the deal as it was already concluded.
He said government had transferred 100 hectares of land in Fern Valley to council in exchange for Meikles Park.
"This place was taken by the government through the ministry of Local Government, therefore this land is no longer council's," said Nhamarare.
"We cannot oppose this directive. It's the government which has done this and there is nothing we can do about it anymore. I do not know why you are fighting. I received a call from the minister [Chombo] and he told me to address you here."
Nhamarare also urged flea market operators at Meikles Park to make peace with the new owner but said that if they encountered problems they should approach council.
He read letters from the Local Government ministry confirming the sale of Meikles Park.
"We are pleased to offer you the land commonly known as Meikles Park in Mutare reservation of 27 on the lease with option to purchase basis. However, please note that the Ministry will offer you a four year lease agreement when you have paid the annual rental of US sixty eight thousand one hundred dollars ($68 100)," reads the offer letter to Stallvic Enterprises and signed by a Chikotera K on behalf of acting secretary in the ministry identified as Shawatu RA.
"We hope you will urgently pay the said amount so that you can get your lease agreement in order to commence construction."
The sale of Meikles Park has been met with mixed feelings. Some flea market vendors operating in the area are opposed to the sale, while Zanu-PF supporters openly cheered the new development.
Chombo could not be reached for comment yesterday.